The United Nations estimates that there are now 232 million international migrants.
These displaced multitudes are driven by deprivation, persecution, oppression, and violence. We could not grasp the extent of their suffering—until we saw the heartbreaking picture of Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy washed up dead on a Turkish beach.
At such a time, we recall that Jesus was once a refugee.
Warned by a dream, the holy family fled to escape massacre in Bethlehem (Mt. 2:13-18). Have you ever wondered how, and through whom, God provided for this displaced family in Egyptian exile?
Two millennia later, unprecedented worldwide migration has brought immigrant families to our doorstep.
In response, we can pray. We can provide clothing and furniture. We can assist with housing and jobs. We can teach English in ESL classes. We can offer friendship and faith.
We can support missionaries in countries experiencing an influx of refugees. We can contribute to humanitarian agencies that provide food, supplies, clean water, legal services, and healthcare for displaced people.
We can pursue international adoption to care for children orphaned by hardship and violence—or assist adopting families. We can advocate with our government for good, long-term solutions.
Once again, Jesus is incarnate in our midst as a refugee. (Mt. 25:35-36) And we ourselves are “aliens and strangers in the world.” (1 Pet. 2:11) We have every reason to identify with, and to help, the “strangers” in our community. (Heb. 13:1)
Statistic cited from 2015 World Migration Report,
International Organization for Migration, p. 17
The Psalters, a band with a folk-punk-acoustic style, capture the pathos
of displaced people in their song, Home for Refugees.